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“Entertainers, Comedians, Actors, Geniuses and Psychoses”

The notion that creativity in art and science is connected with mental illness has long captured the public imagination.  Many speculate that people in the entertainment business and creative people use performance as a form of self-medication.  Researchers claim, “Comedians have personality types linked with psychosis, like many other creative types, which might explain why they can entertain.”  In fact, a study by Oxford University researchers suggests they score highly on characteristics that in extreme cases are associated with mental health problems.  They seem to have high levels of both introversion and extroversion.  I did a review and found tragic deaths or suicides associated with the following: 138 actresses committed suicide, including Margaux Hemmingway, Dorian Gray, and Marylyn Monroe; 216 male actors committed suicide, including Freddie Prinze, George Reeves (Superman), George Sanders, and Richard Farnsworth; 164 Musicians and singers committed suicide or had tragic deaths, including Janice Joplin, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Kurt Cobain, Mindy McCready, and Faron Young;  10 comedians committed suicide or had tragic deaths including Richard Jeni, Greg Giraldo, John Belushi, Chris Farley; similarly for 20 television personalities, including Don Cornelius, Dave Garroway, and 35 film directors who either committed suicide or had tragic deaths.  Still, there has been very little research on whether these entertainers have psychotic traits (delusions, incoherence,  and hallucinations linked to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder).

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